A Dream Career Has Come True Through PLU

Kailey Lyman tells her story how PLU helped to achieve her career goals
Kailey Lyman (MAE'16)

Kailey Lyman had a dream to teach math and coach soccer at the same time.  Her passion for math and soccer, coupled with the support and opportunities from PLU, helped her to achieve her goals.

After Lyman graduated from the Master of Arts in Education program, she found her dream opportunity at Whitman Middle School in the Seattle School District.  She is now teaching eighth grade math and geometry as well as coaching the girls’ soccer team.

One of her passions includes math, “I have personally been good at math and it has always come easy to me.

It is a subject that many people struggle with and do not like. I have always enjoyed teaching it to others and I want to be the one to teach them to understand and appreciate it.”

Lyman studied for her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education at PLU while competing on the soccer team. She continued her graduate study and soccer play at PLU after finishing her B.S. degree in 2014.  When she received her Master’s in Education with an endorsement to teach math, she said that it was like a dream come true. “I was earning two degrees in the time it would have taken me to receive one.” Read more about PLU alum Kailey Lyman

Preparing Future Leaders

PLU offers a wide range of graduate programs:

  • Business
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Education
  • Creative Writing
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The PLU Alumni Grant

PLU graduates receive 10% tuition discount for enrolling in a PLU master’s degree or approved certificate program.

The School of Nursing kept luring Molly Martin back

By the time she earned the university’s highest degree, she left with more than a shiny new title.

The nurse practitioner for Providence Medical Group at Hawks Prairie Internal Medicine in Lacey, Washington, already earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at Pacific Lutheran University.

“PLU makes sure you’re in there and you’re getting your hands dirty, by experience not just by reading it in a textbook,” she said. “That’s what kept me coming back over and over again.”

So, it was a no-brainer for Martin to return to the university as part of the first cohort of the new Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.  It connects students to health care providers all over the Puget Sound region, typically primary care providers, as they navigate their pathways to leadership in nursing. 
Read Molly Martin’s full story 

Applying Psychology to Marketing Analytics (formerly Marketing Research)

Nicki Clifford graduated from PLU with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in politics and government as well as religion.  She continued her studies at PLU to gain a Master of Science in Marketing Research.  “The MSMR program relates to my undergraduate studies because we delve deep into psychographics and geodemographics, which leads to a more comprehensive view of the human experience,” Clifford said. “It is interesting to look at similar subject matters from alternative perspectives.”

Clifford graduated with the MSMR degree last May. She said, “what I love about the program is that it provides students with a set of transferable skills that are desirable to employers in many industries and will help me have flexibility in what I do and where I work.”

Students from Around the World

In Fall 2017, 14 new graduate students came from different parts of the world. Countries represented: China, Vietnam, France, Angola, Cambodia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Senegal.

Fast Track for Business Programs

The Fast Track application allows candidates to apply to a graduate program in the School of Business through an abbreviated process. PLU students or alumni who have completed their degree in the last five years are eligible to apply for Fast Track admission.  Applicants can be from any academic major.

Fulbright Scholar Mavinda Andre Joins Master of Science in Finance

Mavinda Andre (MSF'18)

Mavinda Andre is a Fulbright Scholar from Luanda, Angola, pursuing her Master’s degree in Finance.

At a young age Andre developed a dream to study in abroad. However her dream did not occur overnight, it took hard work, patience, and the help of friends and family for her dream to come to life. The application process was not easy. “It was a very challenging process, but I wanted to gain more experience abroad and with that knowledge make a contribution to my country.”

Andre choses to study finance because it aligns with her professional goals. “Financial markets and strategies are important in changing people’s lives and crucial in modern societies ,” She said. “I believe this will enable me to help develop my country.”

“I am very interested in Nonprofit where I can connect with people to improve the quality of life.” Andre said, “I did not come here alone, a lot of people guided me and made this journey with me, which has been essential in my success so far. I want to have the opportunity to help people, like how I was helped.” Her goal is to work for the World Bank Institution, which is an international bank. It has a mission “to end poverty within a generation and boost shared prosperity”.

MBA In Brazil

The PLU MBA program features an embedded 10-day international experience studying away. In Spring 2017, PLU MBA candidates visited Brazil, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Brazil is a top country in upward evolution of competitiveness closing gap with India and China among the BRIC economies. The faculty-lead experiences have been to Switzerland, Costa Rica, India, Dubai, Peru, China and Taiwan in past years.  Read more about the Brazil Experience

MBA Students Help Brand Skagit Valley

Last Fall, some of our MBA students got their hands dirty as they researched and presented marketing solutions to the agricultural community of Skagit County, in partnership with the Skagit County Economic Development Alliance.

“We got to use the Skagit Valley as a background where students are learning and then applying,” said Mark Mulder, assistant professor of business. “This project also incorporates service learning, which is a big part of PLU’s pedagogy.”

Training Therapists in Community Clinic at PLU

The Master of Marriage and Family Therapy Program runs a Couples and Family Therapy Clinic on campus. It offers affordable care for the local community, and also provides therapist-in-training the opportunity to perform therapy with a co-therapist from their class. Every student in the program will spend their first semester of practicum here. They work with a wide range of clients, which include individuals, families, and couples.

Data Research Project with Washington Traffic Safety Commission

The 2018 MSMR cohort is working with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.  The cohort has been divided into two teams. Each team is responsible for researching and gathering qualitative data on either distracted driving or driving under the influence of multiple substances (polydrug). The cohort hopes to help WTSC understand their drivers and create a campaign that encourages a change in behavior to stop driving under the influence of distractions or substances.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha - A Poet, Writer, and Translator

Tuffaha is a graduate of Master of Fine Arts in Creating Writing.

She is the winner of the 2016 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize for Arab in Newsland, and the author of Water & Salt, a book of poems published in April 2017.  Her heritage is Palestinian, Jordanian, and Syrian. She has lived in and traveled across the Arab world, and many of her poems are inspired by her cultural experience.

Rainier Writing Workshop
The online community site of the MFA in Creative Writing. Visit to read pieces from current MFA students and alumni

School of Nursing Receives $1.4 Million Grant

The School of Nursing recently received a $1.4 million grant from the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW), a program of the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant is targeted at expanding curriculum, doubling nurse practitioner student numbers and sending those students into medically underserved areas around the state.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Celebrates First Graduating Cohort

In the Spring of 2017 six nurse practitioners earned their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, the first doctorate offered by PLU.

“The most important component of the program is the scholarly research project,” said Teri Woo, associate dean for graduate nursing programs. The practice-improvement or program-development projects offer practical and immediate application. They must aim to improve patient care through partnerships with major health care organizations.

Collectively, the cohort worked closely with three heavy-hitter medical organizations in the region: Providence, Kaiser Permanente (formerly Group Health), and Valley Medical Center.  Additionally, all of them submitted their scholarly projects for publication or presentation at a national conference.”

Woo said the quality of the projects directly relates to the intimacy of the doctoral program. “A lot of other programs are large and don’t have as much involvement from faculty,” she said. “That’s what’s needed, someone has to teach it to you and support you. Just like any other field, they need mentorship. You need someone committed to them and their progress.”  Read more about the first DNP cohort

Professors Collaborate with Students to Test Measurements of Hope

Dr. David Ward, program director and associate professor of marriage and family therapy, worked with Jon Grahe, professor of psychology, and two former students on an interdisciplinary research project validating Ward’s previous research on a relationally focused measurement of hope. The findings were recently accepted for publication in The American Journal of Family Therapy.

Ward’s original research was published in 2010. He said one fundamental role of a therapist is to build hope, or a client’s belief and feeling that a goal is attainable. The key is moving the client from a place of despair to a place of hope through sustained therapy sessions, he said.

MFA New Writer In-Residence

Rigoberto González joined the MFA program in 2017 as an inaugural Stan Rubin Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. He grew up in a family of immigrant farmworkers from Mexico. Now he writes award-winning books. He is the author of four books of poetry, three young adult novels, a novel, a story collection, and three books of nonfiction. His new collection of poems is scheduled to be published in 2019.

“Most of the adults in our household did not know how to read in any language,” González said when he revisited his childhood memories. “Something as basic as literacy made the difference between feeling at home and feeling like an unwanted foreigner.”

His love of books guided him on a path to education, opening doors that, eventually, led him to dream of becoming a writer, one who could be inspired by his family stories, his cultural heritage, and his questions about the journey from one community to another.

Professional Business Certificates

Gain a deeper understanding of one of these areas of interest:

  • Entrepreneurship and Closely-Held Business
  • Healthcare Management
  • Supply-Chain Management
  • Technology and Innovation Management

Brooke Brown named the 2021 Washington State Teacher of the Year

Brooke Brown in front of Washington High School Sign

Brooke Brown ’06, an ethnic studies teacher at Parkland’s Washington High School, was recently named the 2021 Washington State Teacher of the Year by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Brown engages students in her classroom by centering each student’s rich experiences to encourage them to recognize the values in themselves. Brown says that “Fostering a safe environment for students to develop critical thinking skills and to have critical conversations” is fundamental to her approach.

As an undergraduate student at University of Washington, Brown served as a tutor and was moved by the need for teachers that represented the students they were teaching. Realizing that she enjoyed tutoring, Brooke enrolled in PLU’s Master of Arts in Education program where she began her journey to become the educator she is today.

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